If you’re still not feeling Dylan fatigue from all the auctions, Basement Tapes, and supergroup-sourced new songs that were announced over the summer, here’s a headline that tops ‘em all: MusiCares has asked rock’s all-star team to perform at a tribute concert that celebrates Bob Dylan’s newly announced Person of the Year award. Set to happen on February 6 — two days before the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards — the benefit includes performances by Beck, the Black Keys, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Norah Jones, Tom Jones, Los Lobos, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Eddie Vedder, Jack White, Neil Young, and X co-founder John Doe. GRAMMY-winning producer Don Was will also be on hand as the night’s musical director.
“In celebrating the 25th anniversary of our MusiCares Person of the Year tribute,” MusiCares president/CEO Neil Portnow said in a press release, “it is most fitting that we are honoring Bob Dylan, whose body of creative work has contributed to America’s culture, as well as that of the entire world, in genuinely deep and lasting ways.”
“Bob Dylan’s songwriting ability is unmatched,” added MusiCares chairman Bill Silva, “and it will be an extraordinary evening to hear his work showcased by such a remarkable group of artists.”
While all of the artists involved will probably be on their best behavior given the event’s good cause, it’s worth noting that the Black Keys and Jack White weren’t exactly on speaking terms earlier this year when the latter said the following in a Rolling Stone cover story, echoing private emails that had been leaked online earlier:
There are kids at school who dress like everybody else, because they don’t know what to do, and there are musicians like that, too. I’ll hear TV commercials where the music’s ripping off sounds of mine, to the point I think it’s me. Half the time, it’s the Black Keys. The other half, it’s a sound-alike song because they couldn’t license one of mine. There’s a whole world that’s totally fine with the watered-down version of the original.
Some people will hear that and say ‘Oh, Jack White thinks he’s the first person to play the blues.’ But certain acts open up a market for a certain style. Amy Winehouse: Did she invent white soul? Wearing a beehive? No. But she did something brand new and fresh, altogether as a package, and you see who’s in her wake, from the Duffys to the Lana Del Reys. Adele selling 20 million records? That would not have happened if Amy Winehouse was alive. The White Stripes did the same thing, and in our absence, you’re gonna find someone to fill that. And you get a band like the Black Keys, who said they never heard of the White Stripes? Sure.”
White apologized for his comments soon after, but not before the Black Keys told their side of the story. “ I actually feel embarassed for him,” said drummer Patrick Carney. “I don’t hold grudges, man. I really don’t.”
Maybe a medley of “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Tangled Up in Blue” is in order?